Martha’s Choice Marketplace is revolutionizing the emergency food system.
Serving over 900 families a month, Martha’s not only provides clients with the very “normal” (and dignified) experience of shopping for their groceries, we also provide our clients with a wide array of other empowering services including, but not limited to, job search assistance and resume writing, nutritional education, parenting classes and more.
Many of our clients become our most helpful, innovative and compassionate volunteers.
The choice pantry is the portal to all the services we provide at Catholic Social Services and reflects the larger community… a choice model pantry looks like regular life. It recognizes each person’s basic human dignity with all his or her gifts and needs, challenges and strengths. Here we share all these things, and create community.
She served (John 12:2).
Martha’s Choice Marketplace is named for St. Martha, friend of Jesus and sister of Mary and Lazarus. Martha was about the business of serving Jesus and creating an environment for others to meet with Him without judgment or conditions. You came to Martha’s to eat, to rest, to meet with Jesus.
There is always room at Martha’s table…
Catholic Social Services exists to transform lives and bring about a just and compassionate society where every individual is valued, families are healthy and strong, and communities are united in their commitment to the good of all. We envision a world touched by God´s mercy: where poverty and need are alleviated, and all people share justly in the blessings of creation.
Martha’s Choice Marketplace exists to nourish and empower our community by creating a co- operative environment to share what we have and get what we need. Through access to healthy food, meaningful social interaction, and service to one another, we strive to create a circle of giving and receiving that not only results in abundance and joy, but is also a beacon of justice and a regenerative force in our community.
We envisioned a food distribution model that would be situated in an environment that is friendly welcoming, and respectful; where relationships are positive and impactful, and resources are shared equally through choice. There is easy access to resources, information and knowledge. We imagined a place where the perceived stigma of needing assistance is overshadowed by an inherent understanding that we are lucky to live in an abundant community.
The greatest impact we can have on each other is through our relationships and sharing of accumulated knowledge, life skills and access to opportunities. Catholic Social Services has modernized and re-created the existing food cupboard to a choice food model and centralized point of service. In addition to the distribution of food, we provide education, information, and personal attention that empower patrons to choose nutritionally dense food that is appropriate to their own physical needs, and cultural and personal tastes.
Catholic Social Service’s has a long history of providing for basic human needs in the community at large. Until recently that help in the food pantry was generally a box of food delivered without any selection on the part of the recipients. Recently we realized that a more dignified and respectful way of doing business was available for this service. Setting up pantries without barriers amid people, more like a grocery store was a model that could be realized.